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Be Clutch

Safety campaign mascot-ified and animated


During the COVID19 pandemic, my alma mater, Lehigh University, experienced a campus-wide shutdown. In the summer of 2020 when the institution was systematically phasing back to in-person learning, I was commissioned by Communications and Public Affairs to use illustrations and animations of our mascot to highlight safety procedures and protocols in a lighthearted way.

My Role

I designed and illustrated all visual assets of the project, including still images, animated stickers, and videos. Prior to this project, the Lehigh University mascot Clutch had never had a consistent presence as a cartoon character on social media. I was in charge of establishing a new, trendy identity of our existing, costumed mascot. Throughout the project, I communicated with varies departments at Lehigh University to ensure the consistency in artistic style and marketing language.

Time Frame

June - August, 2020


Digital art, storytelling, animation, graphic design


Procreate, Canva, Adobe Premiere Pro


Giphy, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok

Be Clutch Poster

Animated GIFs

Animated Video

Character Research

Mascot Studies: Lehigh University

Clutch the Mountain Hawk
Having studied at Lehigh for both undergraduate and graduate careers, I encounter our mascot Clutch the Mountain Hawk quite often. He is the giant, feathery figure at the freshman rallies, sporting events, commencement, and any whole-school occasion that needed him to be the figurehead of. 


Although the Mountain Hawk is a fictional animal, the mascot combines both the hawk, a bird native to the Lehigh Valley, and the geography of Lehigh University’s South Mountain, creating the “Mountain Hawk.”
- The Brown and White

What made Clutch so identifiable, besides his frequent appearance on campus? I searched for Clutch's photos and sketched his figure. I highlighted characteristics that were unique to Clutch.


Mascot Studies: Other Institutions

Mascots are symbolic of American collegiate athletics. During my research, I looked into mascots of two other universities to compare and contrast their features.

Nittany Lion (Pennsylvania State University)
Nittany Lion, one of the oldest university mascots, is based on a mountain lion or cougar. It appears in two forms: animalistic (as seen at the Nittany Lion Shrine and on logos), and anthropomorphic (costumed, as seen at events).

Paws the Husky (Northeastern University)
Northeastern University has a history of live mascots. Paws was introduced to the campus in the 2000s as a" new, updated, costumed mascot designed to replace the student-elected Mr. and Mrs. Husky." 


Character Design

Initial Sketches

Based on the costumed mascot, I made initial sketches of what Clutch could look like as a cartoon character. I broke down structures of his body to gain a better understanding.

clutch initial sketches.png

Defining the Character

After drafts of sketches, Clutch's proportion, body structures, and outfit were finalized. I decreased Clutch's proportion from 4 heads to 3 to make him appear "cuter" and more appealing to younger audience. I used several colors on Lehigh's branding guide for coloring reference. Eventually, Clutch came with its own palette.


Putting it Together and Going Beyond


Once Clutch's design was confirmed, it was time to bring him to life. Based on the safety procedures issued by the university, I created a Clutch graphic for each. I used Procreate to illustrate and animate them.
The GIFs were uploaded to Giphy, which made them accessible on Instagram and TikTok. Within just a few months, the GIFs had garnered over 10 million views.

clutch giphy.gif
ig stickers.gif

Creating Clutch Today

I am still making Clutch illustrations to this day, years after graduating from Lehigh University. Every summer has been my Clutch commission season. I have created coloring books, T-shirt graphics, and doodle videos.

2020-09-16 16.09.22.jpg
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